Illuminati Congo is a Chicago-based one-of-a-kind project melding hip hop aesthetic with reggae consciousness, imagined and realized by visionary frontman Jahn Da Baptist and backed by production created by Nic the Graduate. The last decade has seen few emcees as prolific and dynamic in lyrical content as Jahn Da Baptist. From cripture imbibed songs like "Shiva Smokin'" to odes about physical immortality on "Eternal Life" to songs celebrating "Bike Ridin'" to the comedic admonishment of "ILLiterate," Illuminati Congo covers major territory. Jahn's lyrical dynamism is well complimented by Nic The Graduate's spectral production, which borrows from hip-hop, reggae, soul, funk and electronic strands.
Illuminati Congo's sound dissolves the barrier between conscious and unconscious, reggae and hip hop, and light and dark, all the while maintaining a light-hearted, playful, childlike and comedic musical uniqueness. This coupled with Jahn's global travels teaching yoga as well as his penchant for writing books covering such myriad subject matter as tantra, gnostic Rastafarianism, health, and healing, and alchemy makes Illuminati Congo one of the most interesting musical outfits on the scene.
Illuminati Congo performances can only be described as electric, and Jahn has spent the last four years touring the U.S., the Caribbean, and Australia. Illuminati Congo is a regular collaborator with both local and national acts, and has played and recorded with Lee "Scratch" Perry, KRS-One, Dead Prez, Big Youth, Lutan Fyah, Digable Planets, Shabazz Palaces, Inner-Galactic, Del the Funky Homosapien, Anthony B, Burro Banton, King Kong, Jahdan Blakkamoore, Perfect Giddimani, Sa-Roc, and Rocker T, among others.
With the release of two albums in July, Illuminati Congo continues its prolific creative clip. "Siddha Gita," produced by Anahata Sacred Sound Current, is an erudite hip hop tantric story album. "Health, Wealth, Knowledge of Self," produced by Yuani, is a musical manifesto of motivation related to lifestyle, healing and leading a prosperous and happy life. Jahn also simultaneously published books Tantrik Rainbow Body and Urban Aghori in addition to the albums, as well as an additional book, Gnostic Rastafari, in the fall.
Jahn The Baptist is unlike any other rapper out there. He is able to utilize his mantra of “as above, so below” to formulate a refreshing unity of the higher self and lower self. His lyrics reflect both his practice of spirituality and his embrace of earthly, human desires.
His words are meant to appeal both to Yogis as well as the inner city Hood- with an authoritative demeanor that lets you know he is equally of both. Having studied and taught Kundalini Yoga and Rebirthing Breathwork as well as being an avid herbalist in the Rastafarian community, Jahns true goal is to heal. Heal the world of its ills through awareness of self and the practice of unconditional love. Hip hop is an art form that has the ability to communicate complex ideas to a potentially large audience, let it not go to waste!
Nic The Graduate has taken Jahn’s eclectic background and layered it with equally eclectic beats. As a Multi-instrumentalist, producer and dj for many years in Chicago, he is most attracted to music that elicits an emotional response.
Rather than just being impressed by songs that get the dance floor packed or stay in your head for hours, he is always more interested in music with a meaning- or soul. In producing the Illuminati Congo album, he has made it apparent that hip hop is truly a global style, combining traditionally heavy beats and bass lines with some unexpected twists and turns from other genres. In using a wide variety of live instruments and samplers The Graduate is able create a fusion that activates the soul as well as the dancing spirit.
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